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Thursday, August 24, 2006, 03:00 pm PT (06:00 pm ET)

Mac mini shortage suggests product changes

Apple Computer is once again denying resellers and large partners the ability to place bulk orders for its petite Mac mini desktop computers, often an indicator that new models are on the horizon.

A blogger who works for a colocation firm recently tried to order "a bunch" of the computers to use as Mac mini servers but was turned down. "I was told by the reseller (name withdrawn so they don’t get in trouble) that they can’t take big orders," the blogger wrote, "but after Labor Day they’d be able to ship plenty of the new model."

The same blogger in February reported on a similar instance in which he was unable to obtain a large order of Apple's then PowerPC-based Mac minis. Within days of the report, Apple introduced its Intel-based Mac mini line.

Bolstering the blogger's latest report is independent confirmation from a well-placed AppleInsider source who claims that Apple's refusal to fill large orders is worldwide. Mac mini availability is expected to improve within two weeks time when new shipments begin, the source said.

Both reports insinuate that Apple is gearing up for post-Labor Day product introductions.

Earlier this month, AppleInsider reported that Apple had begun preparations for its fall product launches. Specifically, it was reported that the Mac maker was preparing for massive air-freight shipments from the Far East that were due to drop in the United States around the 5th of September — the day after Labor Day.

Also by next month, the Cupertino, Calif-based company is expected to update its MacBook Pro notebooks with Intel's latest Core 2 Duo processors.